JUDGE APPRAISAL has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

JUDGE APPRAISAL is ready to elaborate on any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Riverside County. Feel free to contact us today.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
What would cause me to require services from JUDGE APPRAISAL?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
After completing the appraisal, how can I have certainty that the value indicated is veritable?
How difficult is it to become certified?
Who are an appraiser's customers?
Where does JUDGE APPRAISAL get the data used to estimate values in Riverside County or other areas?
What can a full appraisal do for me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
What is "Market Value?"
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



Describe an appraisal   (Back to top)

The process of creating an appraisal deals with an inspection which forms an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is concluded through the use of a formal method that typically uses the three main "common approaches to value". One of the processes in use is the Cost Approach, which evaluates what it would cost to replace the improvements to the property, minus age and physical dilapidation, plus the land value. Easily the most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with making a comparison to comparable homes nearby. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a residential property. The Income Approach is primarily used for figuring out the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of capital a property produce.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Back to top)

An appraiser produces a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers present their professional findings in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to require services from JUDGE APPRAISAL?   (Back to top)

There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for obtaining an appraisal include:
  • To receive a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To contest improperly assessed property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To provide you a negotiating tool when purchasing real estate.
  • To find a likely sales price when listing your home.
  • To defend your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every house.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
For a more extensive description of the appraisal process click here.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Back to top)

Home inspectors do not come to an opinion of value and are not appraisers. The point of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the house from foundation to rooftop. The archetypal house inspector's report will include an evaluation of the integrity of the home's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (Back to top)

To be honest, they share nothing in common. What the CMA relies upon are superficial trends. The appraisal relies on specific definite comparable sales. The appraisal report will also contain neighborhood and building prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

But the most significant factor is who's doing the report. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, state licensed professional who made a career on valuing homes in and around Riverside County is behind the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent party, with no vested interest in the value conclusion, unlike the real estate agent, whose income is tied to the price of the home.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (Back to top)

The main objective of an appraisal document is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the appraisal.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible considerations.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work considered while working up the assignment.
For a more comprehensive look at what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


After completing the appraisal, how can I have certainty that the value indicated is veritable?   (Back to top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • The appraisal used an apropos analysis of the data.

  • That substantial errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were rendered in a careful and conscientious manner.

  • That a credible, supportable appraisal report was conferred.
There are intense education and practical experience requirements that must be satisfied in order to become a licensed appraiser in California. Likewise, appraisers must obey a stringent industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for developing an appraisal and reporting its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Regulations regarding licensing and certification of Real Estate Appraisers vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification is most often associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once licensed, he/she must then complete continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who are an appraiser's customers?   (Back to top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, requiring their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does JUDGE APPRAISAL get the data used to estimate values in Riverside County or other areas?   (Back to top)

One of the main tasks an appraiser performs is to collect property data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a variety of sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (Back to top)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. If you're selling your house, an appraisal helps you set a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (Back to top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary policy covers the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the property is lower than what the borrower still owes on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Is PMI a part of your monthly mortgage payment?Call JUDGE APPRAISAL today at 9518079331 or send us an e-mail. Documentation of your home's current value could save you thousands.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Back to top)

The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general condition of its features. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can find our way to things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available).
  • Written property agreements, such as a maintenance easement for a shared driveway.
  • Any documents, such as a title policy with information on encroachments or easements encroachments or easements.
  • A list of any major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A list of "suggested" improvements if the property is to be appraised "as complete".

What is "Market Value?"   (Back to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (Back to top)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is certainly entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

This rule doesn't apply when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may state how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (Back to top)

This really depends on where the home is. For example, if you live in a cold region, insulated windows can be a real plus. But they aren't as attractive in a warm-weather climate.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms were second, yielding 85%. On the contrary, work that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.